VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Following Gary’s amazing photo and question on a comparison between the VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chrono (launched 2008) and the Lange Datograph (launched 1999) I took some photos and jotted my thoughts down.

It’s neither exhaustive, in depth nor even conclusive. I have to start by saying that I really like these watches (if I didn’t I wouldn’t have bought them VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Movement 

Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph 

Cal 1141: 27.50mm diameter, 5.60mm thick
21 jewels
164 components
18000 VPH
Power reserve: 48h

Cal 1141 is based on Lemania Cal CH 27 (now Manufacture Breguet). A tried and tested movement whose design and development began in the 1940s and first used by Tissot and Omega and first used in the Chronographe Historique of the early 90s. An extremely high end movement certainly one of the most beautiful chronograph movements currently available. Used by VC, PP, Breguet and Roger Dubuis but currently only used by VC and Breguet. 


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Datograph
Cal L951.1 30.6mm diameter, 7.5mm thick
40 jewels
405 components
18,000 vibrations an hour
Power reserve 32 hours

Launched in 1999 the Datograph was a hit! The very first high end manual wind chronograph since the Lemania CH27!

The Datograph has certain functions/features that the Patrimony Chrono does not:

Big Date
Flyback
Instant jumping chronograph minute hand (in the same style as the 1930s Longines 13ZN calibres)

Overall the Datograph movement is in all Technicolor glory with red jewels, blue screws and gold chatons, even the German silver plating of the movement has a tint of yellow, it also has a very 3 dimensional construction with the plates and gears constructed vertically.

On the other hand the Patrimony Traditionnelle Chrono movement may not look as glamorous but has a distinctive monochrome look which is not without charm, especially for those who prefer slimmer movements. 


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Case 
Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph

Rose gold, 42mm diameter and 10.9mm thick

Due to the rather thin case and flat appearance of the watch, I tend to place the Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph in the “dress chronograph” category. 

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Datograph
Rose gold, 39mm, 12.8mm thick

The thickness of the Dato doesn’t bug me and gives the watch a higher wear on the wrist.

The Datograph due to its domed bezel is quite curvy and sensuous whereas the Patrimony has a rather flat bezel and tense lines surprisingly giving it a more masculine and vigorous look. 

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Dial 

Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph

The dial of the Patrimony is just stunning; the two tone dial with its 5 different finishes from creme, to silver and gray is a sight especially with the touch of blue from the tachometer scale which adds a twist. Even though it is inspired by the dials of the watches from the 40s, the Patrimony dial has a modernist touch which sets it perfectly in its epoch.

Only issue I may have is that the small movement puts the subcounters too much towards the centre but the designers have found a good way of making this less visible with the tachymeter scale on the inside of the dial rather than periphery.

I also like the fact that the time counting hands (central seconds and minute counter are of a different color than those used for time telling – oxidized black vs. rose gold) 

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison


Datograph

The silvered dial has the same sheen as the movement: a sort of glow. The dial is more no nonsense and “Teutonic” than the Patrimony but then again Lange has a no frills engineered look which has made its success. The only small complain would be having the hands in the sub counters blued rather than adopt the more traditional method of separating the colors of the hands time telling / chronograph counting. 

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Clasps 

Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph
Comes with a beautiful double folding Maltese Cross deployant buckle with the Maltese Cross design repeated in the inside of the clasp. Certainly one of – if not THE- nicest deployants. 


Datograph
A sturdy rose gold tang buckle 


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

Wearing comfort and overall impression 

The chronograph pushers on both are as smooth as butter. The VC start/stop needs hardly any pressure whereas the reset needs s slightly harder push, in the Datograph it’s the exact opposite, the start/stop needs a stronger push than that for the reset.

The Patrimony is an instant classic with contemporary size (I have no issues with large watches if the proportions are good) a fantastic tried and tested movement. Technically the Dato has more to offer with the big date and flyback functions but just because there are more functions that it makes it better!

Even though it is smaller the Datograph has more presence on the wrist, maybe due to its size or big date. The Patrimony has a more subdued elegance.

Don’t count on me for saying which I prefer because I can’t. In fact it depends on the mood. Both get plenty of wrist time. And anyway as they say a picture is worth 1000 words so I’ll let you judge. 

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison


VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison

VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison
Any of these two chronos would make me happy, the VC a bit happier :-)
03/21/2011 - 16:00
nt
Truly beautiful watches - and a couple of questions...
03/21/2011 - 21:37
why does the Lange have so many jewels? Obviously not a modular, so is it something to do with the vertical design? Does VC buy the Lemania ebauche from Breguet or do they make it themselves following the Lemania design? For what it's worth, I'd pick the VC, just. I like the Lange dimensions but find the date a little too big (is it bigger than the large date on the Overseas?) The Lange buckle is a bit plain and I prefer the gold batons over the numerals. But, like I said, both stunning.
I would believe that the Lange jeweling is due to the different
03/22/2011 - 10:01
functions such as flyback and instant jumping minutes. VC has a special licence from Lemania (now Manufacture Breguet) to make this movement.
Comparative sizes of big date displays
03/22/2011 - 16:14
I happen to have both watches with me right now, and can confirm that the Dato big date display is larger than the one on the VC OS Chrono -- perhaps not taller top to bottom, but definitely wider from side to side.  The gold frames on the Dato dial also add width, of course. One of the downsides of the Dato is that the date change takes about 40 minutes to execute -- the OS date snaps cleanly over to the next day within seconds of midnight! Best, GaryG
Re: VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison
03/21/2011 - 23:07

Unfortunately niether has graced my fat wrist. That being said, I prefer "thin-crust" pizzas. VC's over-all portions and simple, clean cut dial make it a tasty dress-up day "pie" for sure. If I had to have a "deap-dish" pie it would be the Malte Series Perpetual Calender Chrono. What better way to "Clutter" a dial than Vacheron's breath-taking 3D Moonphase! ;-) Miki

Both great looking watches
03/22/2011 - 00:27
and happy to wear either, but for me I find the Patrimony Chrono a little sterile compared with the Dato here... and think the dato is the better-looking watch of the 2. you do love those rose gold cases! How many more are there I wonder!! You lucky man.
alex , u answered a question i had with design of the traditionelle...
03/22/2011 - 03:30
of the smaller movement on the bigger case without being awkward on the dial, whereas the other house has a wider step-up bezel. of case size for my narrow wrist, i'd choose the dato, of the case height, i'd choose the traditonelle for lesser scruffs and elegance. it is really tough to decide ! of the lugs, i'd like the dato lugs, for the curvature of it to sit on the wrist, definitely VC. again a tough fight! of movement depth and marvel look, the dato, however again, its height is a major setback, the lemania then breguet now movement is also a looker, especially with VCs signature finishing. another tie!     inhouse or not, it doesn't bother me a bit. the litmus test of course has to be the question of if i had to only have only one , which one? for me, i'd choose the dato because of my wrist size and the iconic balance look of the lange.  but i'm sure VC will fare better with its future iteration of the integrated column wheel chrono. looking forward to that !
Thanks so much for this splendid comparo, Alex!
03/22/2011 - 16:07
I asked, and you delivered!  Wonderful descriptions and photos -- and very frank assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of each piece, which I really appreciated. I agree with you that the Dato would be much better with a blued chono seconds hand, as with the Pisa variant in PT -- guess I'll have to go for a Pisa or a Double Split if it bothers me that much . Or a Patrimony!  I was really impressed by Gary H's piece when I saw it, and with a few sessions at the gym I could perhaps wear that puppy on my left arm without it dragging on the ground -- a substantial and lovely watch. Many thanks, once again. Best, GaryG
Re: VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison
03/22/2011 - 17:38
Great comparison and they are both amazing watches. I'm a bit partial to the Datograph, but that may be because I don't have the Vacheron yet. Thanks.
This time you are not guilty, Alex.
03/22/2011 - 18:22
First of all, it is always great to read your thoughts/comparisons/reviews about watches and I appreciate them a lot. Knowledge, taste, humor & honesty comes to my mind Back in 2004 you and your friend Alberto did a great review about another chronograph. It still is printed out and found its place between my watch books, magazines, catalogues, articels ... This one was "addictive", because the watch is in my box and gets lots of time on my wrist. As I mentioned above, this time you are not guilty because both watches are in RG and/or too big Thanks! Oliver
3mm wider and 2mm thinner
03/22/2011 - 20:27
Such small differences are very apparent when these two are side-by-side.  I like the vintage instrument look of the Dato, while a contemporary update of vintage is the VC's trademark.  Once turned over, the chunky rim of the VC makes reveals the disparity between case and movement size...something I just can't get over with today's oversized watches, along with the pinched subdials forced by too-small a movement.  The Lange is better balanced IMHO and perhaps VC should consider a design frill to occupy some of the vacant real estate in the absence of a movement that could provide a third totalizer or date indication.  Where the VC wins for me is thinness!  At least that DNA remains strong within the Maison...
small movements in big cases have been around for some time. Even in
03/23/2011 - 12:15
the 50s with the 38mm cases...
My favorite big/little...
03/23/2011 - 17:10
This 1960s pocket watch hides a cal.1001 with Geneva Seal and Gyromax...a nice package for sure! However, the corporate ethic that boasts the virtues of thinness must also walk the talk.  During those early years when pocket and wrist watches occupied the market together, it was with a wink that sometimes they simply popped in smaller wrist watch calibers in PW cases to achieve a technical description of being thin, but those in the know considered it cheating. 
What a great set of pictures, Alex!
03/22/2011 - 23:06
Very interesting and indeed exhaustive (you're too modest) comparison of these two tycoon chronographs I am very partial when it comes to VC and it may come as a surprise that I admit that two of the additional Datograph's chrono functions - flyback and instant jumping chronograph minute hand - make it very appealing to me. But that's where it ends for Dato. I do not need a date display on a manual wind chronograph (not to mention the way oversized Dato date apertures). The modern vintage look of VC is so appealing and lovely! I just love it. The only small drawback of its dial are the subdials which are a bit too centered. The case is amazing with just the right size... Other than that, Patrimony Traditionelle Chrono is my foremost choice, especially the white gold version with rose gold accents - a true beauty. Alex, what a phenomenal picture with those two watches on top of each other!!!  
Re: VC Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph/Lange Datograph comparaison
03/23/2011 - 10:55
You are very lucky to be able to afford such fabulous watches. Good luck to you
What a delightful post!
03/24/2011 - 16:58
Enjoyed this first hand, unbiased comparison between these two top chronos. You covered all the important bits and I have to agree it's a very close call between them. Size wise,a couple of years ago I would have prefered the VC but lately 37-40mm would be in my comfort zone for dressy pieces. Funny how taste evolves; about 4 years ago when I was seriously contemplating the Dato,I thought it way too small & top heavy (pt.model). How I wished they made it the size of the double split! Now the DS is way too big for my wrist. Same wrist,same person but the perception has changed. Thank you. Best regards, Fernando